The #1 Killer In a Dental Practice: Indifference

By Yin Chew

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There are a myriad of problems associated with practising dentistry today. We’ve been inculcated by consultants NOT to take phone calls and disrupt production, many don’t have email in their practices to assist in quasi virtual consultations and sharing information about long term treatment planning at times can feel like pulling teeth. Dentists are not by nature collaborationists, they live in an isolated containment with a support team that does not by nature offer criticism. It is an artificial world beyond description and it tends to make empathy shortcircuit. Do read this interesting article.

Note: As a business consultant for the last 17 years working with dentists, I have seen many practice owners spending lots of money on fancy dental marketing ads and yet they do not seem to get the patients they want.  

Author, Harry Beckwith, in his book ‘Selling the Invisible said. “Your greatest competition is not your competition. It is indifference.”

It is so easy to be indifferent because the many in the professional field is so stuck on promoting how good they are and what “special” service they provide, that they all sound alike!

If you only promote about how many years of experience you have,how many diplomas you have,and that you have ‘caring staff’ and ‘good customer service‘, all these messages do not really have much impact for the consumers. Why? Because everybody says that their service is good!

As Steve Chandler, a famous motivational writer, says, “It is not enough to please and satisfy your clients – you must astonish them!” Your customers expect to be satisfied and will usually only express themselves if they are not satisfied. But they will not say anything if they are satisfied because they expect it!! They especially expect that with a professional like a doctor, a lawyer or an accountant etc of any kind!! 

How do you portray yourself as not being ‘indifferent’? 

Not being indifferent is easily achievable by giving and not expecting anything in return. Give more than the customers expects. You do not even have to give it to the person you are trying to attract or keep in your business. 

Go ahead and perform an act of kindness to your community, give flowers to your customers at 10 different occasions throughout the year, talk about (on all possible channels you could think of: fax, email, web site, flyers, via FREE press releases) the weather, the education system, a good movie you have seen etc., and really give your customers more ‘food for talk’ than your professional topic.

Organize simple events to help your community to do better: do a food drive, do something for children, support local programs. 

You will be pleasantly surprised how this helps your customers referrals. Yes, even referrals from other professionals!

Be down right outrageous with the things you do. Forget any thing you ever learned about “professional letters, professional advertising and professional marketing”. Forget it – because ‘professional’ usually means messages which have already been seen somewhere else and it is unfortunately very boring and mundane. 

If you do not believe this, look at all the dental advertising in the Yellow Pages, what are the dental ads saying? We have good equipment, we have X years of experiences, we cater to cowards etc. They look similar to each other, don’t they?  

Talk about stuff that concerns the public in general – not about your skills. Be interested in them no matter what their concern is. (If you do not know what you could talk about, there are more free resources on ourUn-Advertising blog.) 

Listen, listen, and then listen some more and your practice will be different with a large number of patients following!

Remember: Do a
way with indifference! While everyone else is speaking about themselves, speak about what your prospective new patients want to hear, and they will not just hear – they will listen. Whether you’re in the dental practice management business, or in the restaurant business, being caring and taking the time to NOT be indifferent will help your business to grow – despite a slower economy! 

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